Colleen Farrell (’10), now a resident physician at NYU, had an op-ed (paywall) in the Washington Post this past week:

Normally, the intensive-care-unit floor of my hospital is divided into different types of ICUs: There is a cardiac ICU for patients with heart attacks, a neurosurgical ICU for patients with bleeding in their brains, a trauma ICU for patients who have been hit by buses and a medical ICU for patients with breathing problems.

Now there is only the covid-19 ICU. It takes up the entire floor, and soon it will overflow. I work there, as a resident physician training in critical care. And it is a chilling place.

It’s a nice piece and worth a read.  Of course, none of this was inevitable, although our preparation failures of January and February are pretty baked in at this point.

That said, there is still time to avert a worse catastrophe.  If you’re under a stay-at-home order or advisory, stay at home.  The worst thing that we can do now is to cripple our economy without also reaping all of the accompanying public health benefits, which is exactly what happens when businesses are closed but folks still visit friends and family.

It’s also worth noting that this crisis is going to continue for a lot longer unless we get our collective testing and tracking gear in game quickly.  The best case scenario at this point is probably tamping down the rate of infection enough by mid-to-late-summer that we can start cautiously re-opening parts of the economy — but that requires an effective and quick-acting testing/tracking program.  I’m astonished by how unprepared we were in February or even March for a problem that was clearly months in the making, and all sorts of state and federal officials must be held accountable.  But at this point, it is most important to look forward to the late summer, to make sure that we’re ready to re-open things as soon as possible.  Right now, we are not — and it won’t just be the victims of covid-19 and the accompanying recession who will suffer, but also the front-line workers like Colleen.

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